© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.

Literature Glossary

Don’t be an oxymoron. Know your literary terms.

Over 200 literary terms, Shmooped to perfection.

Euphemism

Definition:

A euphemism is a nice way of saying something not so nice. We see euphemisms all the time, especially when talking about things that are, um, kind of hard to talk about, like sex, death, and race.

Examples? Check out all of the hilarious ways Shakespeare talks about sex in The Taming of the Shrew, the many euphemisms for death in Thomas Hardy's poem "Afterward", or the United States Constitution's rather feeble attempt to avoid saying "slave."